GET Stock QuotesNews18 APP
News18 English
»
3-min read

Calcutta High Court Suspends Panchayat Election Process Till April 16

The Calcutta High Court also imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on the BJP for misleading the court.

Prema Rajaram, Sujit Nath

Updated:April 12, 2018, 7:12 PM IST
facebookTwittergoogleskypewhatsapp
Calcutta High Court Suspends Panchayat Election Process Till April 16
The Calcutta High Court has also sought a comprehensive status report from the State Election Commission including details of the number and percentage of nominations filed. (Image: News18)
Loading...
Kolkata: In a development, unprecedented in the history of elections in India, the Calcutta High Court on Thursday suspended the Panchayat poll process in West Bengal, including scrutiny and withdrawal of nominations, till April 16.

The court has also sought a comprehensive status report from the State Election Commission including details of the number and percentage of nominations filed and measures taken by the panel to address the complaints of the opposition parties during nomination process before it hears the case next on April 16.

The order was passed by Justice Subrata Talukdar on multiple petitions moved by the BJP, Congress and the Left alleging coercion in the nomination process by the ruling Trinamool Congress. They had challenged the Commission’s decision to withdraw its April 9 notice which extended the nomination filing deadline by a day.

The court had, on April 10, already put an interim stay on the Commission’s withdrawal notice.

The court also fined the BJP Rs 5 lakh for misconduct and misrepresentation. While reprimanding the party’s counsel, Justice Talukdar observed, “Your strategy outside court and inside court cannot be the same. After filing the petition, you were not seen yesterday (Wednesday). Do not take the court at your convenience. It gives a very poor impression of yourself.”

The judge held that the BJP’s decision to simultaneously move the High Court and Supreme Court with the same plea was tantamount to “forum hopping”.

The Trinamool Congress has, however, decided to challenge the order before a division bench of the High Court. “This is an unprecedented judgement. There are numerous orders which state that once the poll process begins, it cannot be put on hold,” said Kalyan Banerjee, TMC counsel, in justification for his move.

Unruly scenes were witnessed inside the courtroom with Kalyan Banerjee getting engaged in a high-decibel war of words with BJP counsel Pratap Banerjee over the latter’s absence from court on Wednesday.

Welcoming the order, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh said, “We were hopeful that the court will give justice to us. The Bengal government has taken away the democratic rights of opposition parties through violence backed by the police.”

“Our leaders are under attack and are receiving death threats from TMC goons. Unfortunately, the state Election Commission is also cowering before the ruling TMC party. We approached the court for justice because under such situation free and fair poll is impossible,” he added.

Barely a kilometer away from the High Court premises, the Mahatma Gandhi statue that was meant to be a stage for BJP members’ dharna against the Parliament washout quickly turned into a celebration stage for the party after the news of the court order arrived.

Parliamentarians Babul Supriyo and Roopa Ganguly alongside leaders like Kailash Vijayvarghiya, Rahul Sinha and Mukul Roy unilaterally acknowledged that the order was a shot in the arm for the party whose cadres at the grassroots were desperately looking for a legal reprieve in the face of alleged violence of the ruling dispensation.

CPI-M legislator Sujan Chakraborty said, “Today’s order proves that the SEC was incapable of holding free and fair poll in Bengal. There is a butchery of democracy happening in Bengal and I would like to thank the Calcutta High Court for passing this order. The Commission and the state government should jointly shoulder the moral responsibility of this entire mismanagement.”

State Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who is personally appearing in court to defend his petition, termed the court order as a “victory of truth”.

“I salute this order. We were confident of getting justice. There is an anarchy going on in Bengal. Ruling party leaders indulged in hooliganism and prevented opposition leaders from filing nominations. Under current circumstances, free and fair poll is impossible. I am sure the court will give its final verdict considering the ground realities in Bengal," said Chowdhary.
| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
Read full article
Loading...
Next Story
Next Story

Also Watch

facebookTwittergoogleskypewhatsapp

Live TV

Loading...
Loading...